Hamas did a rare thing this week; it issued a press release contradicting one of its top officials, Fathi Hammad, who called for the killing of Jews everywhere in the world. Hammad had to backtrack on his comments and issue a press release of his own in which he stressed his commitment to the official position of the movement, which is to limit its efforts to resisting Israel’s occupation of the land of Palestine. “Our struggle is not with Jews elsewhere or with Judaism as a religion,” insisted the Islamic Resistance Movement. “Hamas has condemned and continues to condemn any attacks against Jews and their places of worship worldwide.”
Hammad, who is known for his fiery rhetoric, was commenting on an Israeli army sniper’s killing of Mahmoud Al-Adham. The 28-year-old border guard was shot while he was trying to prevent some Palestinian protesters from getting too close to the nominal border fence erected by the Israeli authorities. Egyptian mediators have been shuttling between Israel and Gaza to de-escalate tension between the two sides for months now. The killing was a major blow to these efforts.
The Israeli army does not want military escalation with the Palestinians in Gaza while war with Iran is still a possibility. A spokesperson said that the shooting of Al-Adham was a mistake, and the army will open an investigation. Although no investigation has been initiated, many Israeli commentators criticised the military and viewed its statement as a kind of apology to what they call a “terrorist” organisation. The reasoning was clearly this: why should any Israeli apologise for killing a Palestinian? He was, after all, merely an “Arab”.
Of course, Israel has been killing Palestinians inside occupied Palestine and further afield for decades. Palestinian resistance movements, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are committed not to any retaliation outside historic Palestine, but Hammad’s comments were picked up as if such retaliation has already happened. Israeli crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the imposition of collective punishment on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip for 13 years, were overlooked.
On the same day that Israeli media was lambasting Hammad and, indeed, all Palestinians, the Zionist state’s Channel 13 broadcast a documentary showing how the Israeli secret service, Mossad, assassinated the Secretary General of Islamic Jihad, Dr Fathi Shaqaqi, in Malta in 1995. The operation involved killing a man with neither charges nor a trial; abusing the sovereignty of an independent state; undermining domestic security; misleading local authorities; and forging official documents and passports. This criminal act was carried out, according to the documentary, in front of a new-born baby and its mother. But who cares; he was just another “Arab”.
Coinciding with the broadcast, Israel’s occupation army shot a 10-year-old Palestinian boy in the head while he was taking part in anti-settlement protests in Kafr Qaddum in the West Bank. All settlements are illegal under international law. Abdul Rahman Yasser Shteiwi was rushed to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the boy is fighting for his life, with more than 100 bullet fragments in his head. “The child was not even involved in the demonstration,” explained a local source, “and was shot as protesters were pulling back.”
Another boy, 7-year-old Tariq Zebania, was riding his bicycle this week near his village, Tarqumia to the west of Hebron, when he was knocked down by a hit-and-run driver, an Israeli settler who headed for the Adhoura settlement after hitting the boy. Local people reported the incident to the occupation army; young Tariq was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. No attempt was made to apprehend the settler, witnesses reported.
Two days ago, Nassar Taqatqa, 31, was found dead in solitary confinement in an Israeli prison. He had been arrested by Israeli occupation forces on 19 June at his family home in the village of Beit Fajjar south of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies, “[Taqatqa] was initially taken to the notorious Jalameh interrogation centre, where detainees have previously reported being subjected to physical and psychological abuse at the hands of Israeli officers. Two weeks later, he was transferred to the Nitzan Prison in Al-Ramleh and placed in solitary confinement.”
From long experience, Palestinians know that Israelis do not regard as worthy the life of anyone other than white Jews. Any investigations by Israel into the above incidents, if they ever take place at all, as well as court action, will lead to nothing whatsoever happening to obtain justice for the victims of Israeli violence. That is the norm when the accused is a white, Jewish Israeli and the victim is Palestinian. The killing of an Ethiopian-Israeli young man, Solomon Tekah, at the hands of an Israeli police officer, lends weight to this belief. He was an Israeli Jew, not an “Arab”, but was still killed and his killer has been released. The shooting itself was justified and covered-up by the state, merely because the victim was not regarded as quite Jewish enough. He was, after all, black.
Israeli propaganda has succeeded in misguiding people for a long time, but it is impossible to mislead people forever. There is a basic fact in all of this, which is that any racist mentality that prevails in a state based on colonialism with inherent racism, does not place any importance on human life unless it is the “right” kind. This inherent sense of racial superiority will, sooner or later, backfire, and Israel will suffer the bitter fruits of its own deeds.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.